What are Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials?
Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BAEPs) is a diagnostic testing technique that allows you to assess the level and quality of perception of sound signals by subcortical brain structures based on the analysis of bioelectric responses received from these structures. By varying the sound signal in the headphones, the response of various parts of the central nervous system is recorded with the help of special equipment.
What problem does it solve?
If a child suffers from various speech disorders, such as dyslexia or alalia, has problems with coordination of movements, is detected inability to concentrate or a mental retardation, it is very important to determine whether these phenomena are associated with functional disorders in the subcortical structures of the brain, first of all - brainstem and cerebellum.
The effectiveness of the treatment chosen depends on how timely and accurate the problems that arise during the transmission and processing of nerve impulses by various parts of the brain are diagnosed.
In addition, this method allows to determine the condition of the auditory nerve in non-speaking children, due to which it is possible to localize the cause of the disease with high accuracy.
In addition to the above cases, the diagnosis using Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BAEPs) is indicated for newborn children brought into being through difficult deliveries, children with autism (Early Infantile Autism (EIA), Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorders), and is used to assess the state of the brainstem and to localize pathologies in case of hypoxia, injuries, etc. The method allows to objectively assess the patient´s degree of ability to concentrate, and the functioning of the brainstem and cerebellum.
How it works?
The perception of sound signals by the human brain is a very complex and multistage process.
Initially, the sound, which is actually the air vibration propagating in space (acoustic wave), is converted into electrical impulses by means of hearing organs, and then is transmitted to the brain. The electrical signal obtained in this way is subsequently converted by several sections of the central nervous system, some of which are located in the brainstem. The cerebellum also plays a significant role in the processing of such signals – it is a very important structure that, among other things, is responsible for the recognition of information directly related to the activity of the speech apparatus.
The performance of all these systems is determined not only by the speed of data processing, but also by the speed of transmission of electrical impulses along the channels of nerve tissues. One of the most reliable ways to assess how well these systems function is to measure the electrical potentials of nerve structures that arise in response to sound stimuli: it is precisely these “electrical responses” are called the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potentials (BAEPs).
In fact, the BAEPs analysis is the most reliable method for assessing the condition of the auditory nerve, checking the speed of signals passing through the nerve tissues and detecting any disorders at different levels of the brainstem and cerebellum.
How is the testing conducted?
This is a completely safe and painless procedure, not associated with any harmful radiation.
The duration of the test is only 12-15 minutes. The test is carried out passively and does not require any active participation of the patient.
The headphones are put on child. Through the headphones a child hears soft clicks, and brain activity is detected by special highly sensitive electronic sensors. Moreover, the patient is not required to maintain complete immobility.